An Audience with Al Gore

al goreIt is not everyday I get to listen to a ‘nearly’ president of the United States. I was very struck by his open-ness, apparent integrity and sheer skill at which he delivered his message. I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking in my time and yet I found myself listening to a lecture on climate change and being totally engrossed. Throughout the whole of the documentary I was making mental notes on presentation and communication.

OK, I was watching Al Gore on DVD rather than in person….. I’m no way near important enough to actually meet the guy!

Last night I watched the documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”. It’s been out a couple of years and a friend Ruth gave it to me as a Christmas present (no doubt a bargain by the way – the title cover was in Portuguese as well!).

To be honest, it put together a lot of issues that have been going around my mind for the last few months. Now I am not an environmentalist. I have a carbon footprint that would make most people’s look like a carbon pinprick. I am also not a gloomy prophet of doom, yet, I find myself trying to find ways to understand, categorise and engage with what a an acquaintance of mine, one called, “Climate Doom!”.

Let me spell out for you a couple of links that were made between my heart and my brain.

I saw the Science

I’ve always been a slight enviro-sceptic. I’m certainly not one to jump on bandwagons. I work a lot in Africa and I’m probably the biggest sceptic of Fair Trade there is (mainly because when money is concerned, there is never any fair, only maybe slightly fairer in order to get a profit!). But with this, something got me.

I’ve read many articles etc. from those who are for and against the theory of global warming. I’d never really seen a lucid presentation of the science that was engaging or presented by someone not in a green rainbow jumper. (Environmentalists do have an image problem in the main! even worse that the Church!). The trends, figures and images were quite deeply shocking to be honest.

I guess as I’ve thought about it, my objections are not scientific, they are more personal and well selfish I suppose. So, that leads me to my second point:

This Issue IS Spiritual.

Too many times I think in our lives we separate what we think morally from the day to day experience of our lives. I’m a Christian, one of the born again, really does believe that Jesus is the only way to God variety. The problem is, a lot of Christians separate what they believe from the practice they carry out. Fatal! So in the arena of climate change, we think that is a worldly problem and does not deserve our attention.

The root of the problem is mankind’s greed. Our greed in using resources. Our competition manifested in economies that in turn require to be ‘fuelled’. The base of this problem is our heart. We do not live in harmony with what is around us, what was created around us, and all of us somewhere deep down know it. It is not something that simply affects the developed world. Africa has vast deforestation due to human activity. It is a worldwide problem.

Is some ways it is the same issue that we find when I work in other countries. I believe my life is about showing people and telling people about Jesus. The organisation we are pioneering is Dignity, which is an evangelistic organisation. A lot of our activity however is in practically helping people. Why is that? Aren’t we about sharing the good news.

In previous times I have mistrusted what I thought of as ‘liberal’ Christians who simply want to do social niceties. To be honest, in my heart there is still some distrust there, and I think on some occasions rightly so. Christians who dispense with the gospel that spiritually transforms us are missing a key part of their armoury. But! It is impossible to show the good news of Jesus, without being engaged with people. If you get engaged with people, you get engaged with their problems. If you see people suffering, there really is a moral obligation to work with them. It is not human or Christian to not do so.

So, the issue is spiritual. I’ve got a feeling that for a lot of us, this issue is going to get a lot more prevalent and worrying. For our friends and society, this issue is going to crunch. Could it be that our spirituality has a role in this massive change that is required of us? I think so. We’d better be the ones who are their to deliver it.

This is going to be a Major Societal Issue (and already is)

Now we all remember the millennium bug! The disaster that never happened. I saw some appalling books from the states (they always are aren’t they?) warning of the second coming, global Armageddon etc. etc. etc. What tosh!

I don’t think this fits into it. It is happening now. We are feeling the effects of it now. So it will become an issue in one way or another for all of us. Name me one person who somewhere is not just ever so slightly concerned about it?

To be an evangelist is to be someone who connects with people and situations and turns them towards Christ. Climate Change not only needs a solution, it is a way of connecting with the legitimate fears and hopes of those around us. It is an avenue for us to show Christ.

I have faith in a God who is in control. I have faith in a God who preserves the human race. He stands against the tyrants and despots of this world and he will preserve us in this ‘crisis’. Crisis has followed humanity throughout its’ history. There is a God who we can hope in, both in this world and the next. So let’s get involved and stand for our Saviour as we do it.

Fear, anxiety, crisis are not God’s invention. They are evil and are from the enemy. Let us stand up to this new foe in action and proactive faith in Jesus.

Do I sound like a preacher? Well I am, so there is no surprise there. I’m just trying to connect my faith with what I do. That’s what Jesus did. As he lives in me, I’d better get on with it….

So what am I going to do?

  • Well next week I’m test driving 2 hybrid cars. Yes this does appeal to the gadget freak in me, and yes for once my wife, Jude, actually thinks this may be worth it. So, as much as I love my BMW, I may just junk it….
  • I’ve also thought about talking to a couple of friends and trying to show the film An Inconvenient Truth in South Manchester. Try and use it to show that the Church is not, to quote a euphemism, “up itself” but actually bothered about the world and those who live on it. I may need a couple of mates to make this happen, feel like volunteering.
  • I’m actually going to pray for Al Gore and everyone else who is trying to do something about this. Maybe, God placed him there, precisely for that very reason…….. (you’ll know if you are conservative or liberal by how you react to that statement!)

Well, that isn’t bad for a start…. I’ll let you know what else I think of!

Happy New Year as Well as I probably won’t post before then.

Jon

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3 thoughts on “An Audience with Al Gore

  1. Hi Jon

    As another enviro-sceptic or whatever you called it I’m intrigued by the fact that we both felt challenged by this at the same time 🙂

    Due to a fear of disappearing this lent by fasting from food I found Tearfund’s Carbon Fast via a website called Journey Beyond (http://www.journeybeyond.org).

    It may tie in nicely with the idea to try and show the film in South Manchester. Take a look and see what you make of it 🙂

    God bless & speak soon.

    Adam

  2. Hi Jon,

    Well, James Alden has wanted to show the film at Ivy recently, but he’s been unsuccessful – though he managed to get it shown at Emmanuel a few months back.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a very effective eco-warrior. Obviously I cycle whenever I can and since I’d like to do the trip to India this summer, I’ll certainly Carbon offset it (even though I don’t think it sorts out the issue). I use low-energy lighting wherever I can and switch off devices. I also figure it’s important to use our resources to shift the balance for others. For example, by investing in windfarm coops.

    I agree the spiritual dimension to planet conservation is absolutely key. For example, NewScientist recently reported that divorce is bad for the environment! Not only does it lead to more houses being needed, but also 50% higher domestic carbon footprints.

    http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn12990-for-the-environments-sake-dont-get-divorced.html

    But it’s also key to those who are eco-activists. Most of them don’t believe in Jesus (AFAIK) and it occurs to me that if governments continue to fail to address the issues it will lead them to extreme and ungodly measures to redress the balance.

    Hey, adam: “a fear of disappearing this lent by fasting from food” surely that’s inconceivable!

    -God bless, cheers from julz @P

  3. Ok – so I’m extremely unlikely to disappear 🙂

    I guess the real reason is my desire to enjoy a juicy roast dinner and some good wine when we get back to the UK 🙂

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